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Indonesia Bulletin No. 4 - 3 March 2005

03-03-2005 Operational Update No 4

ICRC activities to help tsunami victims

 General situation  

Aceh province, on the northern tip of Sumatra, was the region hardest hit by the undersea earthquake and tsunami on 26 December 2004. Together with the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, more than 50 National Societies and the ICRC responded quickly to the unprecedented disaster.

While continuing to help victims of the tsunami, especially by restoring family links, the ICRC has started to focus more on its core protection activities.

 Evacuation of bodies  

The ICRC continues to support the PMI with body evacuation equipment. The task is getting more complicated, as the remaining corpses are hidden inside buildings or under the rubble and heavy machinery is required. Until recently, the evacuation teams were clearing area by area. From now on the teams will go to specific sites, in response to requests from the public.

 Economic security  

The distribution of community clean-up and reconstruction kits started at the end of February. The kits include wheelbarrows, shovels, brooms, tools, gloves, rubber boots, aprons, soaps, disinfectant, a first aid kit and water storage containers. The kits are designed to help communities of up to 50 persons to clean their houses and neighbourhoods. The ICRC has handed out 40 kits so far.

So far, the ICRC has been distributing non-food items at 260 different locations in eight districts. Supplies have reached almost 40,000 fam ilies – a total of nearly 175,000 people. The districts covered are Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar, Sabang (Weh), Pidie, Aceh Utara, Bireun, Aceh Timur, and Aceh Tenga. Items include family kits, household kits, basins, mats, blankets, tarpaulins, tents, hygiene kits, baby kits, underwear, kerosene and jerrycans. The ICRC has also provided 20,800 household kits that have been distributed by the International Federation and the PMI.

In early January, the ICRC distributed food to over 7,500 families, which equated to a total of more than 36,000 people.

 Water and habitat  

ICRC teams continue to assess and renovate water and sanitation facilities in the districts of Aceh Besar, Pidie, Bireuen, Aceh Utara and Aceh Timur. Wells contaminated by mud and saltwater after the tsunami are being cleaned. This week, the ICRC was able to clean up ten wells in the villages of Lambaro Seubun (Aceh Besar) and Syamtalira Bayu (Aceh Utara) and in the area of Lhokseumawe. The organization is continuing to deliver 290 cubic metres of water per day to a number of locations by road.

 Health  

The PMI/ICRC field hospital is now operating at 70% capacity and the demand for its services is increasing. Continued high seismic activity in the area and the close proximity of Lhong Raya stadium have prompted the decision to move the hospital about 30 metres away from the walls. This process has already started and will continue during the coming week, but with minimal consequences for the daily functioning of the hospital. The discharged patients'camp will be relocated as appropriate.

So far, the hospital has carried out 4,883 outpatient consultations and treated 382 inpatients.

 Detention  

The ICRC resumed its visits to places of detention early in February. So far, visits have taken place in Banda Aceh, Aceh Besar, Bireun, Pidie, Aceh Barat and Aceh Utara. During the visits, teams assess conditions of detention, register the detainees and provide such basic assistance as hygiene kits if required.

 Re-establishing family links  

The ICRC launched these activities jointly with the PMI on 6 January 2005. Services include registering survivors and their current addresses, unaccompanied children and missing family members; providing satellite phone services and passing on Red Cross messages, to help families get back in contact with each other.

Several mobile teams are undertaking this work, in the districts of Aceh Jaya, Aceh Barat, Aceh Besar, Pidie, Bireuen, Aceh Utara, Sumatera Utara and Aceh Tengah. Permanent teams also continue to work in the ICRC and PMI offices at Banda Aceh and Lhokseumawe.

In total, the teams consist of eight ICRC staff and more than 50 PMI employees and volunteers who visit camps in all the above districts every day.

The total figures to date are 10,827 " I am looking for " messages, 7,880 " I am alive " messages and 26 unaccompanied minors, four of whom have been reunited with their families.

 Human resources  

Currently there are approximately 69 international and 245 national staff working at the ICRC sub-delegation in Banda Aceh, the office in Lhokseumawe, the field hospital and the camp for discharged patients.

 For further information, please contact :  

 Bernt Appeland, ICRC Aceh, tel. ++ 62 811 982 504 / ICRC Jakarta, tel. ++ 62 21 720 72 52  

 Vincent Lusser, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++ 41 22 730 24 26